Eating healthy foods just became much easier, after researchers develop a new type of muffin which is delicious and very good for you.
We all know we should eat healthy foods, but quite often, the problem is that we fall for the tasty foods, which are often not as good for us. After all, who can resist good cake? But what if instead of being not-particularly-good-for-you, the cake would actually really healthy? That’s what UQ Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences scientist and keen baker Dr. Nima Gunness had in mind when she designed the ‘good health’ muffin.
The good heart muffin contains three grams of beta-glucans — soluble fibers which emerge naturally in the walls of oats and other cereals. Beta-glucans are also natural components of the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and yeast. The good thing about them is that meet the food standard guidelines for lowering cholesterol.
“There is good evidence that three grams or more of oats beta glucan consumption a day can help reduce cholesterol levels,” Dr Gunness said.
The idea is not groundbreaking, but it crosses a much-needed bridge. Researchers often focus on understanding the benefits of certain compounds, but rarely concern themselves with delivering that compound to the public in an attractive form. Dr. Gunness chose a different approach, and we’re happy she did.
This is how she developed the ‘good heart’ muffin, as an attractive product which people would naturally want to buy.
“I wanted to turn my discovery into a product, like a muffin, that people could eat to help reduce the amount of cholesterol in their blood stream, lowering the risk of heart disease.”
She didn’t just jam the beta-glucans into a classical muffin recipe. Instead, she spent months trying to figure out how to achieve the best taste and texture while not sacrificing the ‘good heart’ part.
“The trick was to avoid making the muffin gluggy from all the extra oat bran and beta glucan fibre.”
She says that so far, customer feedback has been highly encouraging, and this has a real shot at providing a cheap, desirable, and delicious way to boost people’s heart health. We can only hope her muffin will be a commercial success. After all, who doesn’t like muffins?
“It’s very exciting to see a simple everyday product come out of some fairly complex research.
Alexandra is a naturalist who is firmly in love with our planet and the environment. When she's not writing about climate or animal rights, you can usually find her doing field research or reading the latest nutritional studies.